Hampi to Bangalore Airport and Contacts Info


It was the last day of our long trip when we started around 8.00 in the morning from Hampi and headed towards Hospet and then Chitradurga via NH13 and then proceeded towards Tumkur via 4 lane NH4 and finally took a left from Dospeta towards Airport. Around 50km road on NH13 between Hospet and Chitradurga is pathetic. The rest of the route was superb. That day almost all flights were delayed due to bad weather and Spice Jet somehow settled it earlier score with us and left dot in time (Probably the only flight that day which left on time) and we reached Kolkata on time. We were tired after 21 days of travel but enriched so much by whatever this magical state had offered us.

Car Odo Reading:

Kamalapur – 46365
Hospet – 46376
Chitradurga – 46513
Tumkur – 46647
Dospeta – 46667 (Turn Left towards Devanahalli)
Bangalore Airport – 46739



I took the Car from a tour opeartor called Sathish from Bangalore who was quite helpful and dependable always. He provided me a 2011 Xylo, that ran for 40K and was in absolutely good condition. The rate I negotiated was Rs. 8.5 per km for Non AC. We switched on AC as and when required (It was absolutely necessary at Coastal circuit) but that was managed by one full tank of diesel which I paid extra. So approximately I paid Rs. 2000/- extra for running the AC as and when required. If you take an AC vehicle, it would be around Rs. 11/- per km and with minimum 250km of run per day.

I can recommend Satish @ +919060789049 and +919945028749. But make sure you won’t get the same driver Venkatesh (@+919620853162) whom I got.


1. The accommodation for Mysore, Madikeri, Belur, Badami and Hampi was at KSTDC Hotels and Badami and Belur were really value for money. Rest were just Ok (Madikeri was very good but expensive) and service is almost non-existant. I booked all online at : http://www.karnatakaholidays.net/

2. The accommodation for Kabini and Bhadra was at JLR, both were excellent, booked online at http://www.junglelodges.com where you can get 5% discount too.

3. At Waynad (Kalpetta) I stayed at Hotel Woodlands @950 (Non AC), I would certainly recommend: +918547102547 (Cell) / 04936202547 (Land Line)

4. At Thirunelly, I stayed at KTDC, Tamarind and booked by phone and email.
Hotel is nice but food is very costly.
Contact : http://www.ktdc.com/tamarind-thirunelli.php

Tamarind KTDC Easy Hotel
Thirunelly Temple P.O.
Mananthavady, Wayanad – 670 646
Tel: +91-4935-210475, +91-9447739472
Email: tamarindthirunelly@ktdc.com

5. Mangalore: I stayed at West Side Inn, it was unplanned stay and the hotel was just ok for an AC Room @1100.

Phone: 2439491 / 2439495 (Prefix Mangalore STD Code)

6. Maravanthe: I stayed at Turtle Bay, standard rooms are very very small, I had to change to a deluxe room and it was costly @2800. But if you can afford, this is a place to be. Contact : +919741133451 (C) / 08254265422

Mr. Abraham Chacko was manager, can be reached at +919845374079

7. Gokarna: Nimmu Guest House, was ok @1600 but I would try Namaste Cafe next time. It would have been nice if they had restaurant facility. You can contact @ +919538527252

8. Tirthahally: Vihangama Resort, I stayed at standard room @1500, which was definitely good and the food was good as well. You can contact @08181228211/08181227025. Manager Mr. Kaneena Kadidal can be reached at +919448105125

Turtle Bay at Maravanthe and Vihangama at Tirthahally both are having websites, you can google them.

Lessons Learnt:

If what I faced was normal, then Coastal circuit doesn’t have anything called winter. It’s summer / monsoon and very hot kind of weather. You must be geared up with sun protection cream ./ hats etc. and plan your travel as early as you can in the morning. We constantly got 36 degrees C in December when Northern India was under tremendous cold wave.

If you don’t like crowded places, Karnataka should better be avoided in December. Everywhere I found tremendous rush of school kids who even were staying in KSTDC hotels free of cost and breaking the almost non existant services of those hotels. In Hampi we didn’t even get a cup of tea as they were busy attending to the school children.

Keep your moneybag full with 10 Rs. notes, every where you would find some toll or parking and few are having the habits of returning you the change, many times you might get a subscription/donation bill of the amount you are supposed to get back. Challenge them if you find something wrong, I have seen many times people are trying collect fake tolls.

Make sure your driver atleast can speak some hindi/english and if you don’t know Kannada, practice Dumb Charades, might help you really. Northern part was much easier to handle as they understand hindi/english but Southern part was really a pain.

Previous: Hampi Part-2


Life After Iceland

Respect re-restored for India

Though I was sad about leaving Iceland, I couldn’t wait to get back to India. I had this new found pride for my country. Before this trip, I too belonged to the group of whiners who just complained about how everything’s wrong with this country. The scams, politicians, gang-rapes…it really was depressing to watch the news anymore. I always used to wonder why does anyone travel to India? To see the the filth, chaos, to get constantly hassled by beggars or is it just bloody cheap here inspite of getting ripped off?

It’s a pity that it needed outsiders to make me realize how beautiful my country is. And when they tell you how beautiful your country is, suddenly you start thinking. How they enjoyed the little things in India that I had usually ignored. And when you are traveling to a foreign place, where people are curious to know about your country, you suddenly become the spokesperson for your nation. Surprisingly I just couldn’t stop talking about my country, it’s diversity of cultures and it’s generous hospitality. Felt great to be an Indian even though I had to go all the way to Iceland to feel that.

Missing Iceland like crazy

It was difficult to switch back to the daily routine. All I could think was those beautiful 14 days. I was still hung over Iceland. To relive the experiences, I used to go through the photos daily and then watch the beautiful Sigur Ros (Icelandic band) videos.


I don’t know how to conclude about this journey. Feels more like the beginning. The beginning of many more journeys. At the end of the day we all have a choice – We can either to stick to the same old routine and be another brick in the wall or we can dare to do something different. An year ago I was browsing through a link about Iceland as the place to visit before you die. And what followed was a journey of planning, obstacles, criticism, and triumph. Now that I have already travelled the destination, it is that hard bitter journey towards it, which feels more special than the destination.

Xinjiang, China’s Central Asia and incredible Tibet – Day 29

Day 29:

After a month long trip in most desolate areas of the world with so much beautiful landscapes, so much diverse culture, Kathmandu couldn’t offer much to us, we spent the morning to repack our suitcases and rucksacks to make according to the norms of flights and started for airport just after having a quick lunch. Air India was as usual late and Nepali Immigration were confused on whether to stamp departure in our passport or in boarding pass. Indians usually don’t get stamp in passport but we got it while entering from Tibet now with an exit stamp on boarding pass, made ourselves technically inside the Nepal for time indefinite, not sure what the implication is but we were not ready to think about that after such a satisfying trip for one month. We almost did what we planned except EBC and Nam Tso and that too without knowing the language and managing the complicated Chinese rules. In the flight I took left window and clearly could see Mt. Everest for one last time in trip and it was so much satisfying as the sun sets with its last rays touching the highest point on planet Earth. With the announcement in the aircraft “We have arrived Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at Kolkata and outside temperature is 26 degree C”, I just woke up from a dream I started to see since I was a kid in school. Every trip is result of a dream but this one was unusually long and got fulfilled after 30 years. It’s a pleasure to share a dream of life time with so many of you and thanks again for travelling with me .

At last boarding an Air India Flight to back home after one month of unforgettable experience (Felt so happy to see Indian Flags on the Aircraft ):

Kathmandu Airport


Previous: Day 28

Xinjiang, China’s Central Asia and incredible Tibet – Day 28

Day 28:

The interesting thing in Zhangmu was the 2 hours 15 mins time difference between China and Nepal and Nepal Immigration starts working at 8.00 local time which means 10.15 in China. So when you are exiting Tibet, you shouldn’t reach very early, the later is better while you are entering from Nepal, it’s other way round, earlier is better as if Chinese immigration gets closed at 5.00 local time in evening (In Nepal it’s just 2.45pm) you might get stuck at border and loose a day. From Zhangmu town it’s 9 km straight down hill to Chinese Immigration and Customs which is parked right next to friendship bridge.The bridge is the real border crossing as the Koshi river demarcate the border, one half of the bridge belongs to Nepal and other half to China, exactly here we switched the road side as well, after one month of right hand drive in China we were brought back to Indian/Nepalese system of left hand drive. Nepal side immigration was as usual very messy and somehow we had to pay few hundred rupees to the touts to get our passport stamped though officially Indians don’t need any visa to visit Nepal. From Nepal border Woeser arranged a Jeep for us to drop till Kathmandu which was definitely a plus and very few Tibetan operators provide this service as part of package without extra cost. The 120 km road from Kodari border to Kathmandu was most pathetic in entire trip as we started getting touch with Indian infrastructure with potholed and broken roads. We were back to reality when it took 4 hours to cross this 120 km, which in whole of China we crossed in 1 to 1.5 hours max. We took a hotel in Thamel area of Kathmandu and started getting acclimatized with unclean toilets, dusts, pollution and heat of Kathmandu, yes we were close to Indian Plains

Just crossing the Friendship Bridge in Nepal side you would find some nice Waterfalls, the flow is quite heavy even in late October:


Koshi River known as sorrow of Bihar entering into Nepal from Tibet here and subsequently flow to India to become a tributary of the Ganges river system:


The green is mind boggling after spending one month in World’s one of the highest and driest region:


Change of scenery in Nepal is amazing:



This cute Nepalese girl was initially camera shy but later gave some nice poses for me:


Amazing Valley in Nepal:



Picturesque Nepal:


That’s Kathmandu, at last we reached:


Thanks to Lord Shiva, we finally made it, this is a big one before entering Kathmandu:



Previous: Day 27/Part 7

Next: Day 29

Xinjiang, China’s Central Asia and incredible Tibet – Day 27/Part 7

Day 27 continued..


We started descending on the Southern side of Himalayas:




Now I know even in this life heaven can be experienced:



A Village on High Himalaya:



This just make me speechless, I couldn’t even believe my eyes:



Tibetan dogs:



Rarely find some vehicle on the road:



Another lovely Village:



Isn’t that the melting gold from heaven blessing this wonder land?



Anybody in game to drive that road:



At last the descend starts:



Now we are finally in the Southern side of mighty Himalayas:



Nayalam, the town where Mansarovar pilgrims stay an additional day to acclimatize, still we are at 3750 meter



After 10 days first time we are at a height of less than 3500 meter, At Zhangmu (The border town in Tibet- Nepal border) finally at 2250 meter we are ending our amazing journey through Tibet, the green is back again



Previous: Day 27/Part 6

Next: Day 28

Xinjiang, China’s Central Asia and incredible Tibet – Day 27/Part 6


Now start ascending for final push to Thong La, Can you see the road below that’s going to Mansarovar:



Lone Yak standing in snow land:



The road leading to heaven:



Snow was so heavy that Chinese machinery couldn’t open the road completely after 72 hours:



Can you identify the Friendship Higway, amazingly beautiful:



This is just ocean of snow, look the snow all around, seems this was really The Tethys Sea, 250 millions years ago, just frozen with time:



The road continues:



And now what else you can call as Heaven, believe or not that’s the friendship highway and Chinese keeps it open through out the year:



The Journey Continues:



Friendship Highway goes on:



These huts are for the road workers who maintain this epic highway:



Snow is so heavy, it’s quite difficult get space when a truck comes from other side:



Ocean of snow:



Friendship Highway at its highest point:



From the top of Himalayan range:



Thong La Pass, see the Trucks but its quite difficult to understand where the road is:




Amazing Journey Continues:




That’s village inhabited all the year through:



Friendship Highway Continues:



Sun is setting in High Himalayas:




Previous: Day 27/Part 5

Next: Day 27/Part 7

Xinjiang, China’s Central Asia and incredible Tibet – Day 27/Part 5

Day 27 continued..


Now we are approaching this beautiful Alpine Lake:



This is simply a shortcut connector from Friendship Highway (318) to Tibet-Xinjiang Highway (219) and this stretch is not part of any highway:




Awe Inspiring vista is simply amazing!! :



Now you need to do off-roading to reach close to Lake:



Approaching Pieku Tso :



Off-roading in the blessed land:



Amazing Vista all around:






Closer to this alpine lake Pieku Tso:






Toyota Landcruiser, the most reliable transport in Tibet Plateau for ages, though I heard in 2014, China is going to ban all these 10 years old Land Cruisers and if they really do that (which we would know close to April) it would create a big mess for all journey to Tibet in 2014 and cost of the trip would be rising :



Last glance to Peiku Tso:



The Great Himalayan wall:



Approaching a small town in Himalayan Kingdom:



The Kiangs, in the left in all white background:



The amazing journey continues:



Tibetans riding on the snow land:



Unbelievable Journey:



Now start ascending for final push to Thong La, Can you see the road below that’s going to Mansarovar:



Previous: Day 27/Part 4

Next: Day 27/Part 6

Xinjiang, China’s Central Asia and incredible Tibet – Day 27/Part 4

Day 27 continued..


As seen from the Friendship Highway — Extreme Left Mt. Lhotse (8516 meter, 4th Highest ), Then from Left to Right Mt. Everest (8848 meter), Mt. Gyachung Kang (7952 meter, 15th Highest), Mt. Cho Oyu (8201 meter, 6th Highest) .. Mt. Makalu (8485 meter, 5th Highest) is just missing from sight in extreme left which is visible from Pang La on the way to EBC. I don’t think you would find a place in earth from where you can see 4 peaks above 8000 meter and 26 odd peaks over 7000 meters from a motorable road.


Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Everest


Mt. Everest, Mt. Gyachung Kang and Mt. Cho Oyu:


The magic wall of 8000 meters:



Friendship Highway goes on:


Small Town beside Friendship Highway:



Friendship Highway entering the land of white:






Entering All White, don’t miss the peak in far, Mt. Shishapangma (Lowest among the 8000 meters peak, at 8013 Meter known as 14th Highest and only 8000 meter peak that is located completely inside Tibet):


Driving in High Himalayan Region is an experience of Life time, Amazing Concrete road China has made in this difficult terrain:



Prayer Flags in innumerable passes enroute:


Now we are into the road towards Mansarovar and we are approaching towards the alpine lake Pieku Tso:


Local Tibetans Bikers:


A Village in the middle of snow:


Driving through the amazing road:



First look at Peiku Tso in right, amazing setting of the Alpine Lake:



Yaks grazing in Himalayan Backdrop:



Sheep grazing in the pastureland:



Previous: Day 27/Part 3

Next: Day 27/Part 5